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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Thanks for the Link, But I'll Stick With Elderblogging

blogging bug image It's always nice when someone links to your blog, something Jamie Carracher of the PR firm Edelman Digital did on Monday in a post titled, Elderblogging and When a Senior Gets a Tumblr.

Noting that there are 152 million blogs in the world, she he posted this chart from Sysomos showing that in 2010, 7.1 percent or about 10.8 million of those blogs are written by people age 50 and older.

Info-viz-blogs-age-demographics.gif.scaled500

Using TimeGoesBy's Elderblogger List for her his own overview of elders' blogs, Curracher concludes that most use the “easy” platform of Blogger, write on a wide range of topics making “older bloggers a lot like younger bloggers”.

”Also interesting is how well written and how long many of the posts are — it’s clear these folks spend a lot of time carefully telling their stories.”

It would be interesting to know if the mini-blogging platform, Tumblr, is an Edelman client because after this brief description of the world of elderblogging, Ms. Mr. Curracher spends the second half of her his post making a case for old bloggers to move to Tumblr.

”Tumblr is a little like a Twitter/blog hybrid. What makes it different is its focus on sharing rather than commenting, especially sharing of multimedia like photos, videos and website links.”

In other words, short derivative posts without added value or conversation. (I don't know anything about Tumblr, so I'm taking her his word for it.) Curracher ends by suggesting, “Maybe a few elderbloggers would be up for trying something new” - like Tumblr.

Here is what bothers me: Why, especially with technology, are elders always compared to young people as in, “a lot like younger bloggers” (wow, aren't those old folks clever for their age), and being urged to do what the kids do?

Why would it be better to “share” a video or a link “rather than commenting” with others on a “well-written” essay adding perspective, experience, knowledge, humor and reactions?

One of Ms. Mr. Curracher's goals is to get generations together online. One can hardly fault that, but like those who have come before her him in this endeavor, it is elders she he requires to adapt to the kids' way of doing things implying that because of their youth, their method must, necessarily, be better than ours.

As I've said here in the past, I believe blogging is a near-perfect pastime for elders. At a time in life when many of us have left the world of work behind, it provides daily interaction and camaraderie, opens up a world of new friendship and helps keep our brains nimble creating those well written stories.

Why would those of us who enjoy long-form blogging want to give that up?

I don't mean to pick on Jamie Curracher. She's He's not the first to see elders as deficient in the area of technology. And although she he is correct in assuming that young people are more likely to be the first to follow new online fads and trends, being one of the “cool kids” isn't high on most elders' must-do list.

Personal computers have been among us now for more than 25 years, the popular World Wide Web for nearly as long and the oldest baby boomers are already 65. It's time to lose the themes that elders are technology ignorant and that the kids always know best about these things.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mickey Rogers: An Old Man's Favorite Movies


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Perhaps elders know the value in taking time to "smell the roses or maybe coffee". Fortunately, being retired liberates many of us from tight scedules & deadlines & having to condense our speaking & writing. Interesting, but my take is with you on this, Ronni. Dee

That's schedules. Dee

As someone who finds video booooooorrrrrrrrrring, poop on sharing it as a substitute for comments! I'd rather know what *you* *think,* not what vid you find amusing.

Ronni, I'm pretty sure Jamie Curracher is male.

Ha! and oh dear, Marilyn. I was reading Curracher's post without my contact lenses in so the tiny photo was just a gray mass.

Now I'll go fix the gender references above.

I cannot imagine finding video and short little "takes" on life to be any sort of a substitute for blogging. I enjoy having the time for reflection and reading things like YOUR well written daily posts, Ronni. And the fun comments they engender!

And elders like to actually take the time to spell correctly (typos excluded)-- not to say there aren't those shortcuts but generally all the blogs I read have real words with their actual spelling.

Preserve us from any more "social media" that allow thoughtless folks to hurl random sound and word bites at us.

I think the elders are working in the more sophisticated medium. Perhaps the kiddies will catch on eventually.

I certainly agree that the last thing we're interested in is being one of the "cool kids." I know nothing about Tumblr (other than my son recommended it, which is not necessarily an endorsement I take seriously), but I know a little about Twitter -- and it seems the value in that is mostly commercial. People follow the Tweets of rock bands and Hollywood stars. It's a promotional tool more than anything else.

I have heard good things about Wordpress, however. It's supposed to be a little bit difficult, but offer more variations and opportunities for design and presentation. Would love to hear more abt. Wordpress if anyone has experience with it.

All that being said, sometimes we bloggers do go on and on with our posts. (Yes, I've been guilty at times.) Usually short and sweet is better than long and recursive. In any case, blog on, fellow bloggers!

sightings...
Wordpress, like Typepad that I use, is a well-designed, professional blogging platform that has proved it worth over many years and is easily adaptable to any skill level.

As someone who is teetering on the edge of elderblogging, I refuse to use Tumblr. Because it's focus is on posting other people's work without giving credit. What's the point in that? It's not sharing, it's stealing. Which is what the majority of Tumblr users are doing. Most do not post anything that they actually created.

I have a little more ethics than that. Plus I personally like originality which is why I enjoy your blog and many other journals that are not on Tumblr. Sorry my first comment here is a bit of a rant but I totally agree with what you wrote.

I did a quick Google search and while I didn't find if Tumblr is a client I did see that they are trying really hard to promote it. Which does make me wonder just what is their connection to it.

I blog because it gives me an opportunity to be creative. I use Blogger because it allows me to be creative with how my blog looks, shows up in feeds, what extras I can put on there, what ads may or may not be there, and more. Which is lost with many other platforms. So won't see me over at Tumblr, or Facebook either.

Ronni,

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty because I let you do all the heavy lifting involved in writing an interesting post every day.

I take so much enjoyment and knowledge from you and wouldn't miss reading what you have to say for anything.

Commenting to you and having you publish my stories means the World to me. I just know that without that outlet for all the "Stuff" that's floating around in my brain I would be very frustrated and unhappy.

I love what Rain pointed out about the way we elders spell words correctly and punctuate sentences so they are easily read and understood.

So, as the old song says "Don't change a hair for me. Not if you care for me."

Now let's see which of us can stop themselves from humming the rest of that tune.

AMEN, Ronni. I would far rather read TGB than most of the inane comments on Facebook. I prefer Twitter, not for commenting, but for following two astronauts, a graphic designer, and a nature photographer.

Way back in the dark ages of the net — before lots of today's youngsters were born — I tried Tripod for blogging. Also tried Typepad and Blogger. Typepad is excellent, but I didn't want to pay for it, so I turned to Wordpress, on which I used to have three blogs, but now just one, on which I rarely post. Early on I also created my own website (and two for businesses). My website has morphed over time and is now "under construction" yet again.

I bought my first computer in 1985 (the year my niece came into the world), and have had Windows computers ever since. I'm so tired of people who think "elders" have been living under a rock and are just now discovering "technology."

Note to Sightings: I have found Wordpress to be easy to use. Like anything else, there's a bit of a learning curve, but nothing that can't be mastered. Don't listen to those who say it's difficult. Just go ahead and try it. You can't lose, it's free.

Oh, piffle, as my grandad used to say. I've been working with computers since 1984 and at age 74 can run rings around most younguns on the use and programming of computers -- including my youngest son the Web page designer who has been to every tech school that I could afford to put him through!

What I grieve over is the lack of literacy in younger people. Many of them have never learned the pleasure of the flow of the well written word!

I'm so glad I taught my three kids to appreciate books at a young age. However, their handwriting is abominable.

It looks like both skills, the appreciation of real literature and handwriting, were the first to be eliminated in schools after I graduated ... sighhh

Nancy...
Let's have no guilt for not keeping a blog. Without the smart, cogent, informative, funny and corrective (thank you again today, Marilyn) comments, all bloggers and I would be blowing smoke.

It is what comments add that give "real" blogging its value and interest.

One of the reasons I get behind in everything else I'm doing is that I can't resist checking in at many moments during every day to see what readers have to say.

Which reminds me - the washer dinged a few minutes ago and I need to go put the laundry in the dryer.

wow...Jamie's post really sent me into a facepalm! a totally ham-handed way of trying to promote Tumblr

Which, right now, is in a race with Posterous for top midi blogging platform (as opposed to micro-blogging platform.) It's the one that all the "cool kids" are using, including Steve Rubel and Jay Rosen. So I'd say Jamie's promotion of Tumblr has more to do with running up numbers--they may be an Edelman client or Edelman has money in them or something. or Tumblr's looking to go all IPO on us--which seems to be hot these days.

Still, his overall post is wicked condescending! However, I can't blame him totally. Marketers have been pushing his age demographic to believe a whole bunch of hype that isn't true. The Millenials are not the Boomers--there's no grassroots "youthquake" going on that wants to change the world. Most of them (and i've dated a few these days) are just regular kids, some fighting really bad wars, some just doing what they can to enjoy life, make a decent wage, and don't give a rat's ass about who knows more about technology. Frankly, many are impressed when this 50 year old "elder" knows more than they do about social media! (as one young man said when I showed him my google results: "wow, and I just coach soccer...")

It would be soooo nice if marketers--and marketing firms--would just lay off telling the Millenials how special they are and let them develop their own generational message...

And let the rest of us blog/tweet/tumbl/whatever without having to be put into nasty old generational boxes!

I've been online since 1987 and was active in the old FIDO and RIME networks. I've mostly enjoyed the experience. I don't need to tweet or text and abhor the pressure I receive to do either. I like complete sentences and proper punctuation and spelling and I hate the assault that these people are making on the language. Blogging is, for me, the only way to go. I can't even stand Facebook much less the other stuff.

. . . Stay little valentine, stay . . .

Just can't stop!

Thank you Ronnie and everyone who has posted here for the thought-provoking discussion! While it is true I work at a public relations firm, I write posts for Aging Online in my free time and I don't use it to help market products or advocate for clients. My goal when I created the blog was to share trends and other things I find online to create discussion and most importantly learn.

I certainly don't ever mean to sound condescending. The idea for this post actually came from my mom. She is over 50 and a huge blog reader. She emails me at least four or five posts a week. During the past several months, she has gotten into sites like Tumblr and Pinterest and she's thinking about getting an iPad. I thought this was really interesting because for the most part she does not like social media -- but she loves blogs, even though she doesn't write one herself. It made me curious to explore the trend on a bigger scale. I thought Tumblr was an interesting option because it allows you to connect with strangers very easily.

I apologize if it sounded like I was trying to tell people what to do or that they needed to use any specific social media site to be "cool." That was definitely not my intention.

Jamie

I like the conversational interaction of blogging. I do have a facebook account but that's primarily to keep up with my young grandchildren who post tons of pictures I can't squeeze out of them any other way.

I'm retired programmer and have had computers in my home since they were available, its not fear of technology that drives my choices, it enjoyment of words and the words of others including those with whom I do not agree.

Don't knock it until you've tried it! :-) I'm in the minority here, but I'm a 61 year old Tumblr user and I enjoy it very much. It is possible to use it in the same ways that bloggers use other platforms (with longer written posts), but I use it to follow a small number of other Tumblrs which direct me to photographs, art, music, news items and interesting articles that I would otherwise never see. Many magazines and news sources that I enjoy, but don't subscribe to will post links of interest in their publications via Tumblr (NY Times, New Yorker, Utne Reader, Mother Jones for examples). Occasionally I "like" or share other Tumblr posts or post something of my own (although I have only a few followers myself), but mostly it's a world of links and items to explore if I choose to (much like TGB's Interesting Stuff--a roundup of links).

I have little experience as a blogger apart from an occasional blog post to my rural community's blog and have no desire to keep a personal blog myself, but I do enjoy reading many blogs everyday including Time Goes By.

I embrace what modern technology can do to allow me to meet new friends, keep in touch with old ones and keep me tuned in to what's happening in the world. Gmail, Facebook and Tumblr allow me to do all that from the comfort of my rural home.

My blog is about anything and everything, from essays to photos to videos.
But no photos or personal stuff about my family, at their request.

Apology accepted, Jamie. However, to repeat myself, I don't see how posting quick takes, videos and links without a commenting function can possibly lead anyone to "connect with strangers very easily."

I've known a number of the commenters here today almost since this blog was launched eight years ago. We are friends. Sometimes, when travel and location allow, we've come to know one another in person.

Without commenting, without the back-and-forth of that conversation during which we find common ideas and interests which sometimes lead to taking it offline via email and phone calls, that could not happen.

It is through this conversation in - as several commenters note - thoughtful, complete sentences and paragraphs that the pleasure of real friendship develops and grows.

Isn't that one of the main reasons for blogging rather that quick hits that reveal nothing about the person doing the posting?

Sorry to carry on so, Jamie. Apparently, you hit a nerve with me.

"I don't see how posting quick takes, videos and links without a commenting function can possibly lead anyone to "connect with strangers very easily.""

Actually, Tumblr offers the chance to comment in a couple of ways--if one Tumblr reblogs another's post, comments can be added with the reposting OR comments much like those on any other type of blog can be posted by readers if the Tumblr blogger enables the comments feature via Disqus (it's in the preference section of most Tumblr themes when setting up).

Jamie's a good guy. I like his blog.

And without knowing this to be true or not - my guess is that Tumblr is not an Edelman client. They've gotten in lots of trouble over the last five years or so with clients Microsoft and Walmart - astroturfing and putting up phoney blogs - so being transparent is now a high priority for them. (But you never know - I could be wrong.)

Tumblr. It's just a personal style thing. Some people like to toss out quick comments or share a quick link (Twitter), some like to share links, pics, videos (Tumblr) with not too much commenting, some like to write stories or opinion pieces along with links and videos and pics (Blogger, etc.).

Older folks have histories, and stories to tell. And they're used to long-format information from reading magazines and newspapers all their lives.

I find that my blog, oddly enough, has taught me to write short, not long. (Being in advertising also taught the same lesson.) But I can also churn out stuff too long for blogs.

I don't think I can edit anymore than I do with my blog. I tweet, but not much - and Tumblr is just a bit too much noise for me.

I have never heard of Tumblr, but if it is anything like Facebook "include me out."

I have a Facebook account that I never look at unless I get an announcement that someone has commented on my wall. I send interesting articles to my Facebook account for others to read and that's the extent of my usage.

Blogging, and the interaction of the blogging friends I have made, has opened up an entire new world for me. I don't know what I would spend my old age doing if it weren't for blogging. I suppose I could get out those knitting needles again, but they can't talk back and it would be a lonely existence.

Blogging and commenting is a way of keeping our skills active. I do resent it when someone seems to be amazed that I can still write, much less write in complete sentences. Why do the young assume that we are all suffering from dementia? I taught myself computer skills and, although I am not really proficient in them, I do manage to keep the PC busy.

That reminds me, I need to write a new post today.

...each day is Valentine's Day...

As a fellow "long-form blogger" and a professional writer, I think blogging is an ideal way to communicate thoughts and perspectives -- short or long -- with immediate publication and audience.

Yes, we elders ponder before we communicate. We think about what we want to write. We even revise! That makes our blogs exceptionally worth reading.

"wow, aren't those old folks clever for their age" -- yes, that's condescending, but better than the "go hide, old people!" attitude we often get, don't you think?

Thanks for this provocative post.


Chuck Nyren,

Seeing your name reminded me to reread your story "Minimalist Afflatus" which Ronni published here a few years ago.

I still consider that story the funniest and most clever piece I have ever read.

Readers, do yourself a favor and read Chuck's story at the Elder Story Telling Place.

Only have time for a tweet-size response today. May give Tumblr a look-see, but I'm a fan of full-out blogging for the same reasons many TGB readers cite. Gave Facebook a try--did not like it! Back to email.

Nancy--
Thanks for the heads-up about "Minimalist Afflatus." You are right. I read it and I'm still smiling.

The story ironically reminded me of a recent visit to the Getty museum in LA, where I saw an exhibit of Dutch masters that brought tears to my eyes. They were so beautiful.

Thanks, Nancy. That means a lot.

Ronni has given a bunch of gifted people a place to create. In my case, she even let me create nothing...

Thank you Nancy. Thanks Ronnie, Chuck, and even Jamie who started all this. I love to blog, but as my retirement time fills, I blog short. I don't want to tweet short tho, so I'll stick to my fragments and poorly punctuated sentences on both Open Diary...where there's real hive site dialogue, and Blogger...which rarely collapses. :)

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